Politics of Thailand
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Politics of Thailand
POLITICS OF THAILAND
Benedict (Viktor) Gombocz
Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering
the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of
Thailand, southeast of Burma
Total: 513,120 sq km
Country comparison to the world: 51
Land: 510,890 sq km
Water: 2,230 sq km
Area – comparative: Slightly more than
twice the size of Wyoming
Total: 4,863 km
Border countries: Cambodia 803 km,
Laos 1,754 km, Malaysia 506 km,
Myanmar 1,800 km
Coastline: 3,219 km
THAILAND: PHYSICAL MAP
RELIGION IN THAILAND
There is no formal state religion in the Thai constitution, which assures
religious liberty for all Thai citizens, even though the King is required
under law to be Buddhist, the dominant faith among Thais.
According to the last census (2000), 94.6% of Thais are Buddhists of
the Theravada tradition.
Muslims are the second biggest religious group in Thailand, at 4.6%.
Thailand‟s southernmost provinces – Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, and
part of Songkhla Chumphon have majority Muslim populations,
composing both ethnic Thai and Malay; ethnic Malays make up most
of the southern tip of Thailand.
Christians, primarily Catholics, represent 0.7% of the population; a
tiny, yet prominent population of Sikhs in Thailand and some Hindus
also live in the nation‟s cities; they are greatly engaged in retail
There is also a tiny Jewish community in Thailand, going back as far
as the 17th century.
Since 2001, Muslim activists, normally described by the Thai
government as terrorists or separatists, have rallied in opposition to
the central government because of claimed corruption and ethnic
prejudice on the part of officials.
Thailand‟s Department of Religion, presently under the Ministry of
Culture, is officially liable for the registration of religious groups in
Thailand which claim properties through lawfully established
foundations; it has supervision, together with the Immigration Police,
over the work permits of messengers who are “expatriate religious
workers” of all religions.
RELIGION IN THAILAND: STATISTICS (2000 CENSUS)
Buddhist (official) 94.6%
POLITICS OF THAILAND: OVERVIEW
The political system of Thailand at present functions within the structure of a constitutional monarchy,
with the PM as the head of government and a hereditary monarch as head of state.
The judiciary is independent of both the executive and the legislative branches.
Thai kingdoms and the Kingdom of Siam were under absolute rule of the kings.
In contrast, after the „democratic revolution‟ in 1932, led by westernized officials and customary-oriented
military, the nation formally became a constitutional monarchy with a PM as the head of government,
and the first written constitution was written.
Yet the politics became the center of arguing factions among both old and new elites, bureaucrats, and
generals; coups occurred frequently, repeatedly bringing the nation under the reign of yet another junta.
Thailand has, to date, had seventeen contracts and constitutions, mirroring a high extent of political
After triumphant coups, military régimes have abrogated existing constitutions and spread interim
The leading cause of return to political firmness is cooperation among politicians, men of influence, and
POLITICS OF THAILAND: GOVERNMENT OF THAILAND
Capital (and largest city): Bangkok
Official languages: Thai
Official script: Thai alphabet
Government: Unitary parliamentary
King: Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX)
Prime Minister: Yingluck Shinawatra
Legislature: National Assembly
Upper house: Senate
Lower house: House of
POLITICS OF THAILAND: GOVERNMENT OF
According to the constitution, the three key authorities holding the balance of power are
executive, legislative, and judicial.
Even though the King exercises little direct authority under the constitution and Thailand
classifies itself as a constitutional monarchy, the King is more than an icon of national identity
The current monarch has an immense deal of admired respect and moral power, which has
been used to interfere in political catastrophes and influence the government‟s course.
The PM, who must be an MP in accordance with the current constitution, is the head of
Cabinet members, in contrast, are not required to be MPs.
If the legislature has enough votes, it can hold a vote of no-confidence against the Premier and
members of his cabinet; if the votes pass, the King keeps the government as it is and if the
votes do not pass, everything changes.
GOVERNMENT OF THAILAND: CORRUPTION
Thailand has had a lengthy history of corruption, and the kinds normally seen vary from extortion and
bribery to use of insider information to purchase land.
These forms of corruption are severely entrenched in Thai society for many reasons; for one, officials
were usually not paid in wages, rather permitted 10-30% of expenses for providing their services.
Customs of giving gifts to superior officials are also prevalent; while these practices are not openly
corrupting, their persistence is a significant foundation of corruption and how it is recognized as
otherwise when officials in fact do earn incomes.
The energy sector is one huge part of corruption in today‟s developing nations, including Thailand;
millions and billions of dollars are spent all over the world to extend “Clean Energy.”
Thailand‟s power development planning procedure is based on perpetuating plans for vested interests
and intended to carry on providing perverse incentives to extractive and nuclear businesses.
In addition to false share of finances, large bribes are offered to and received by officials (or their
families) responsible for the jobs, like in the recent Suvarnabhumi Airport project, where a car park
contractor supposedly gave $250 million USD to the PM‟s sister in order to gain acquirement of that job.
Born 5 December 1927 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Reigning King of Thailand since 9 June 1946; known as Rama IX.
The world‟s longest-serving current head of state; also the longest-
reigning monarch in Thai history.
Admired and venerated by many Thais.
Lawfully regarded “inviolable” and lèse majesté, i.e., wrongdoing
against the self-esteem of monarch may be penalized; claims of lèse
majesté defended the toppling of the government in 1957.
Invited public criticism in a 2005 speech; thousands of arrests
Credited with a social-economic theory of self-sufficiency.
Forbes guesstimated his personal fortune, which includes property
supervised by the Crown Property Bureau which is regarded national
property, to be US$30 billion in 2010; has frequently been ranked
number one of the magazine‟s list of “The World‟s Richest Royals”;
this estimation includes land ownership which the royal family claims it
does not actually own.
The Crown Property Bureau spends money on public welfare,
including youth development, though it does not pay taxes and its
funds are reported only to Bhumibol.
Has himself contributed donations to various development projects in
Thailand, in areas such as agriculture, environment, public health,
occupational promotion, communications, and public welfare; tributes
to these donations are everywhere in Thailand‟s media.
Born 21 June 1967 in San Kamphaeng, Chiang Mai.
Thai businesswoman and politican, member of the Pheu Thai Party,
and the 28th and current PM of Thailand, having been elected in the
2011 general election.
Is the first female PM of Thailand and at age 44, became the youngest
PM of Thailand in over 60 years.
Born in Chiang Mai Province into a rich family of Chinese ancestry;
obtained a bachelor‟s degree from Chiang Mai University and a
master‟s degree from Kentucky State University; both degrees were in
Became a manager in the businesses founded by her older brother,
Thaksin Shinawatra, and subsequently became the president of
property developer SC Asset and managing director of Advanced Info
Service; in the meantime, Thaksin became PM, only to be deposed in
a military coup; he went into voluntary exile after a court found him
guilty of misuse of power and corruption.
In May 2011, the Pheu Thai Party, which retains close ties to Thaksin,
nominated Yingluck as their candidate for PM in the 2011 general
election; Pheu Thai campaigned with a motto of “Thaksin Thinks,
Pheu Thai Does”.
Campaigned on a platform of national reconciliation, poverty
eradication, and corporate income tax reduction, despite the governing
Democrat Party‟s allegation that she would act in the interests of her
long exiled brother.
Pheu Thai won a landslide victory, taking 265/500 seats in the 500-
seat House of Representatives of Thailand; it was only the second
time in Thailand‟s political history that one party gained a
parliamentary majority, the first party being her brother‟s party, the
Thai Rak Thai Party.
PHEU THAI PARTY
Third incarnation of a Thai political party initially
founded by ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra.
Founded on 20 September 2008 as an
expected replacement for the People‟s Power
Party (PPP), which was dissolved by the
Constitutional Court of Thailand less than three
months later after party members were found
accountable for electoral deception.
The People‟s Power Party itself was a
replacement for Thaksin‟s initial Thai Rak Thai
(TRT) party, which the Constitutional Court
dissolved in May 2007 for breaking electoral
THE END ( )